Day 2 at WordCamp Europe in Belgrade. Below are the highlights of a number of talks!

The user is central

Alberto Medina's talk is mainly about putting the user first. He indicates how difficult it is for developers to provide a perfectly consistent experience for the user with all the techniques available. Compared to 20 years ago, many techniques and devices have been added. Developers do not use all technologies, simply because there are too many.

According to Medina, the perfect user experience is based on 4 pillars:

  • the website is fast
  • the website is safe
  • the website is integrated (works well with other systems and third party software)
  • the website is engaging (you want to come back)

To help developers improve the speed of the site, he emphasizes the importance of using AMP. AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Page. It comes down to formatting a page in such a way that it loads super fast on mobile. An interesting study about the speed of websites on mobile here.. You can also use AMP in your WordPress site, for example with the plugin AMP for WordPress.

WordPress in 2019

Noel Tock takes us through his vision of what WordPress will look like in 2019 (and beyond). According to Noel, WordPress is currently at the peak of its popularity. Yet, he believes, WordPress can continue to grow, but we should pay less attention to the number of downloads or worldwide active installations. We need to start looking at how WordPress provides value to the user. He describes three trends:

  • Plugins are becoming less important: the landscape of SaaS solutions is getting bigger and bigger. And those solutions often focus on very specific problems. They do this so well that you actually no longer want to use that functionality in your WordPress website, but you want to use that SaaS solution. Where you used to create and send emails via WordPress, you now prefer to do so with Mailchimp. Simply because Mailchimp is much better at that.
  • The rise of platforms: with the growth of WordPress, platforms have emerged around WordPress. Think of WooCommerce or Codable (a platform for outsourcing WordPress development).
  • Digital Experience Platforms (DEP): this is the next step of content management systems. Nowadays, users are presented with personalized content, can talk to devices (Alexa and Siri) and measure their heart rate on their smart watch during exercise. The solutions become smarter and therefore offer the user a better experience.

The future of WordPress – and with Gutenberg this is already in the short term – is that it will become a smarter CMS with a strong focus on analyzing, creating and publishing content. With smart autocorrect software, automatic tagging of images in the media library and easy copying and pasting of text from a range of editors, WordPress becomes more valuable to users. According to Noel, WordPress should grow not so much in numbers, but in value. And that value comes from focusing on what WordPress is good at and the system smart to make possible.